I am trying to find a way to include a non-liability clause in my model release form due to the fact that my studio area is in my home, and in the downstairs portion. I do not want to run the risk of the model trying to sue me because she tripped on the stairs or something to that affect. Is there a way to do that, and if so, how do I go about it?
First, any and all business agreements should be prepared specifically for you by a professional to ensure you are protecting your interests. So using a template online may or may not get you there and (I say this not to pick on you but to get to the point) if you need to ask this question it tells us here that you really should not be doing this yourself. It would also be irresponsible for us to offer language in a vacuum so-to-speak without being able to review the entire context of the broader agreement.
You need to consider whether you can legally operate a studio out of your house. Many will do this anyway in your business but unless your are is zoned for commercial use you expose yourself by operating a business out of your home.
Next, you need a basic liability insurance policy to cover for slips and falls, but you need to make sure it will indeed cover you even though you may be operating in an illegal manner (not that you go to jail, etc but that the ins company may not have to pay out).
Further, you need to protect yourself by creating a proper liabilty shield if you have not done so already such as an LLC, S-Corp, etc.
Lastly, there are some things you cannot contract around such as your own gross negligence.
We work in this area and I am also a licensed NJ lawyer, so feel free to contact me if you care to discuss getting on the right track here.
The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 Support@LanternLegal.com DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.
Contracts / Agreements Lawyer
I agree with Mr Natoli's guidance and would definitely follow it if I were you. There are probably more moving parts in this potentially risky situation than you can anticipate on your own. But, you are sensitive to them. A good lawyer, such as Mr Natoli, can help you figure out all of the risks and design contractual protections and insurance strategies that lessen your exposure. As an American, I am sure you understand there is nothing anyone on AVVO or anywhere else can do to eliminate the risk that someone will sue you for something! The key is to mitigate the exposure and to enhance your odds of prevailing if someone does bring a claim against you. One thing you can do to protect yourself is to make sure that your studio is safe. I.e., no banana peels or roller skates on the stairways. Good luck to you!
Preparing a liability clause is not difficult. But you should understand that as a general rule, you cannot disclaim liability for your own negligence.
There is an insurance aspect to your question. If you are operating a business out of your home, you should have commercial general liability insurance ("CGL"). Your homeowner's insurance company may refuse to defend or indemnify you for injuries if you have "regular" non-commercial homeowner's policy and they discovery you are conducting a business there. You should consult with your insurance broker immediately.
If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.